Maryland Basketball Season Preview: Terps to Watch

By Joe Ilardi
For Unwind magazine

Photo from umterps.com

With the 2016-17 Maryland Basketball season right around the corner, there are plenty of new and returning players to keep an eye on. Here are all the players to watch this coming season, from both the men and women’s squads.

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Photo by Sammi Silber

Melo Trimble, Point Guard, Junior
It may seem that Trimble has already proven himself to the world, but his return this year makes people wonder. Although Trimble posted outstanding numbers in his 2015-2016 campaign – 14.8 points per game, 3.6 rebounds per game and 4.9 assists per game – his shooting accuracy and 3-point percentage dropped, he scored fewer points, and got to the free throw line less. He just didn’t have the season he wanted.

This was the case because he had to share the ball more with the talents of Robert Carter Jr., Rasheed Sulaimon, Diamond Stone and Jake Layman. He shared a court full of weapons who could score the ball, but now he has to make do without the current players in his arsenal. As newer talent takes over these spots, Trimble will most likely be able to control the offense entirely, take more shots, get to the foul line more and prove himself as a true NBA top prospect.

Trimble has even been named as a candidate for the 2016-17 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, and with a disappointing loss in the Sweet Sixteen last season, you can bet on him proving a point.

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Photo by Sammi Silber

Jared Nickens, Guard/Forward, Junior
With Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter Jr. graduated, there is certainly a need for another big scorer. Nickens has the ability to take over that spot, and can score at either the guard or forward position.

He will create space for Trimble to score because of his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. He had 37 percent success from there last season. Averaging 5.4 points per game and 1.9 rebounds per game last season on limited playing time, Nickens looks like he will earn a starting role and have some major opportunities to score with Trimble running the point.

With 14 points including 4 three-pointers against South Dakota State University in the NCAA tournament, it is clear that Nickens will be able to shine on the big stage.

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Photo by Sammi Silber

L.G. Gill, Forward, Senior
This transfer player from Duquesne University could play a big role for the Terps this year. Gill is a powerful rebounding forward who has the ability to shoot the three and put the ball on the floor.

Gill averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for Duquesne. With Maryland’s strong guard play, a power forward could be exactly what the Terps need this year.

While Gill may be more a spot-starter or role-player, his presence on the boards will surely be known. Definitely keep an eye out for Gill this season, whatever his role may be.

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Photo by Sammi Silber

Brionna Jones, Center, Senior
Averaging 15.2 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, Brionna Jones was one of the best centers in college basketball last year. She even led the NCAA in field goal percentage at 66.5 percent.

Last season Jones racked up a number of awards at center for the Terps including All-Big 10 honors and recognition on the Naismith and Wooden Watch lists, and this season looks to be no different.

With a disappointing loss to Washington in the second round of last year’s NCAA tournament after going 31-4, Jones looks to be back with a vengeance.

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Photo by Sammi Silber

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Guard, Senior
It is impossible to say everything that needs to be said about this senior Terp, so here are the basics: she’s far more than impressive. Last season she led the Big Ten and the NCAA in three-pointer field goal percentage, sinking 54.5 percent of her attempts.

Last year she posted an average of 19.5 points and 6 rebounds per game, earned the honors of AP and ESPNW All-American Third Team, became a 1,000 point scorer and led the women’s team to yet another Big Ten Championship title.

Like her teammate Brionna Jones, she is looking to go deep into the NCAA Tournament in her final season with Maryland. Her numbers have been trending upward each year, making her an undisputable Terp to watch.

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